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Auditory Processing Disorder

What is Auditory Processing Disorder?

An Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a deficit in interpreting auditory information. Our ears detect sounds, but it is our brain that helps us figure out what those sounds mean. Typically, a person with an Auditory Processing Disorder has normal hearing, but the brain has difficulty interpreting speech and other sounds in a meaningful way.


What are the Symptoms of APD?

  • Audiology March 2015Difficulty attending to and/or discriminating sounds
  • Difficulty remembering and/or recognizing sounds
  • Difficulty comprehending auditory information - may require extra time to process information
  • Difficulty hearing if there is too much background noise
  • Difficulty following conversations
  • Difficulty following spoken instructions with many steps (complex directions)
  • Difficulty with speech and/or language development
  • Difficulty spelling, reading, and/or writing
  • May get easily distracted or has difficulty maintaining concentration
  • Poor listening skills and/or may get tired after listening for long periods of time
  • Academic performance does not correspond to learning potential
  • Improved performance in one-on-one situations


Who is a Candidate for APD Testing?

Before booking a patient for APD testing, they must:

  • Be 7 years of age or older
  • Be fluent in English or French
  • Be having difficulties in school or work environments
  • Have intelligible speech
  • Be able to understand simple instructions
  • Be able to repeat words/sentences
  • Have an intellectual potential that appears to be in the normal range
  • Not present with a diagnosis that could explain the difficulties encountered (e.g., ASD, global developmental delay, various syndromes, language disorder)
  • Not present with peripheral hearing impairment (e.g., diagnosed hearing loss, wearing a hearing aid, ear infections, etc.)
  • Present with some typical characteristics of APD based on screening and/or case history


Who Can Refer for APD Testing?

  • Health-care professionals (physicians, speech-language pathologists, psychologists, etc.)
  • Educational professionals (teachers, resource teachers, etc.)
  • Parents/caregivers (not available in all Audiology centres)


How Do I Refer Someone for APD Testing?

Send a regular referral to the Audiology Department requesting APD testing. An appointment will be given for a hearing evaluation and APD screening. If a full APD assessment is warranted, it will be arranged through the Audiology Department.

Click here for your local audiology department contact information.  


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